New data that debuted at the annual Meeting of The American Society of Nutrition in Baltimore, identifies a link between receiving less than seven hours of sleep and vitamin deficiency.

Although the lead author made a point to remark upon the limitations concerning cause and effect, the findings were pretty interesting nonetheless. According to lead researcher and director of Nutrition Science at Pharmaville, LL Valencia, California, Chioma Ikonte, lack of sufficient sleep and nutrition might be more closely related than we thought.

Cause and effect

Resident nutritionist of Guiding Stars, Alicia Stowell, spoke to Ladders not too long ago about the healthy foods that promote quality sleep, but what about the nutrition deficiencies that keep us up at night? Or conversely the nutritional adverse effects of not obtaining enough sleep?

Analyzing data from the National Health and  Nutrition Examination Survey, the researchers behind the recent report determined that people that get less than seven hours of sleep on balance receive fewer vitamins A, D, and A1, in addition to magnesium, niacin, calcium, zinc, and phosphorus than those that receive more than the recommended amount of sleep.  “This work adds to the body of growing evidence associating specific nutrient intakes with sleep outcomes,” Ikonte told Inc. “Our findings suggest that individuals with short sleep duration might benefit from improving their intake of these nutrients through diet and supplementation.”

The doctor also clarified that the cause and effect are still unclear. Nutrient insufficiency might very well lead to intermittent sleep, or irregular sleep patterns, or even insomnia to some degree or another.  A clinical study would need to be conducted to correctly identify the chicken and the egg in this scenario.

Another important limitation worth mentioning is the funding behind the new study, Pharmative, the celebrated and well-received vitamin, mineral and supplement maker. Although it would certainly be in the author’s best interest to advertise the importance of vitamin supplements, independent reports have successfully linked certain supplement with quality sleep. Even still Ikonte understands that much more research needs to be conducted to state anything categorical.

“Whether chronic short sleep causes nutrient insufficiency or the nutrient insufficiency causes short sleep still needs to be determined,” said Ikonte. “A clinical study that investigates (impacts of) supplementation with these nutrients on sleep outcomes is needed to demonstrate cause and effect.”

Originally published on Ladders.

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